Most of art’s iconic masterpieces are renowned for their beauty. Think Leonardo’s smiling Mona Lisa, Vermeer’s luminous Girl with a Pearl Earring and Botticelli’s nude goddess, Venus.
大多数艺术巨作都因美丽而闻名于世——达芬奇（Leonardo da Vinci）笔下挂着微笑的《蒙娜丽莎》（Mona Lisa），维米尔（Johannes Vermeer）创作的《戴珍珠耳环的少女》（Girl with a Pearl Earring），还有波提切利（Sandro Botticelli）那赤裸着身体的女神维纳斯。
But there’s one glaring exception in the list of all-time greats: Edvard Munch's The Scream. With its pale, hairless figure holding its head in its hands, mouth agape in a tortured howl, it was perhaps an unlikely candidate to become one of the most recognisable and reproduced images of all time.
但纵观历史名作，挪威艺术家爱德华·蒙克（Edvard Munch）的《呐喊》（The Scream）是一个惹人注目的例外——苍白、秃顶的人形双手抱头，嘴巴大张，痛苦地嚎叫着，看起来不可能成为世界上辨识度最高和被复制最多的形象之一。
Yet this visceral, doom-laden work – a reflection of the Norwegian artist’s troubled state of mind at the end of the 19th Century – has grown to permeate every aspect of popular culture, from film and TV to memes and tattoos.
You’ll find adaptations and parodies of it on student bedroom walls, on protesters’ placards and in political cartoons. It’s the first painting to have spawned its own emoji – the ‘face screaming in fear’. It has become the ultimate image of existential crisis, the original Nordic Noir.
“One evening I was walking along a path; the city was on one side and the fjord below,” Munch wrote, describing his inspiration for the painting.
“I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord — the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red.
“I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The colour shrieked. This became The Scream.”
An 1895 lithograph print of the work, one of several versions Munch created, is the main draw of a new exhibition, Edvard Munch: Love and Angst, at the British Museum in April. It’s the largest show of Munch’s prints in the UK for 45 years, and will offer a revealing look into his turbulent psyche.
这幅1895年的石版画也是蒙克创作的一个版本，是去年4月大英博物馆新展览“爱德华·蒙克：爱与焦虑”（Edvard Munch: Love and Angst）的主要展品。这是英国45年来最大型的蒙克画展，向人们展示了艺术家动荡不安的内心世界。
Born in the village of Ådalsbruk in 1863 and brought up in Kristiania (renamed Oslo in 1924), Munch’s life was shaped by a strict upbringing in an oppressively religious household, marked by tragedy and emotional stress.
His mother and older sister both died before Munch turned 14, his father died 12 years later and another sister was committed to an asylum, suffering from bipolar disorder. Munch himself also struggled with his mental health throughout his life.
“For as long as I can remember I have suffered from a deep feeling of anxiety which I have tried to express in my art,” Munch wrote. “Without this anxiety and illness I would have been like a ship without a rudder.”
He studied at the Royal School of Art and Design in Kristiania before travelling to Paris and Berlin, embracing a bohemian lifestyle, cultivating a network of fellow artists and thinkers, and developing a style that broke with artistic tradition.
蒙克在克里斯蒂安尼亚的皇家艺术与设计学院（Royal School of Art and Design）学习，后来前往巴黎和柏林，过着波西米亚式的生活，结交了一批艺术家和思想家，形成了突破传统的艺术风格。
Munch became increasingly preoccupied with the tensions caused by urbanisation, advances in science and the moral dilemmas of a world on the brink of great change.
In 1893 he painted what would be the first of four versions of The Scream, which is today housed at the National Gallery of Norway in Oslo. The painting was stolen in 1994 but recovered undamaged shortly afterwards in a sting operation.
《呐喊》共有四个版本，第一个彩绘版创作于1893年，现保存在奥斯陆的挪威国家美术馆（National Gallery of Norway）。这幅画于1994年被盗，但不久就在诱捕行动中失而复得，且完好无损。
The city’s Munch Museum houses a pastel version from the same year, along with a second painted version from 1910 – which was also stolen, in 2004, and also later recovered.
A second pastel version, dating from 1895, is the only one of the four in private hands, and sold for $120 million at auction in 2012 – a record at the time. Finally, a lithograph stone was produced in 1895 – and it is a rare black-and-white print from this that the British Museum will display.
Theories abound as to the influences behind key elements of the work. The red sky has been linked to the effects of the Krakatoa volcano in 1883 which led to spectacular colouring in the skies above Europe for many months; as well as to the phenomenon of Mother of Pearl clouds.
The central figure has been linked to a Peruvian mummy Munch may have seen at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, and also to a giant Edison light bulb displayed at the same event.
Author Kelly Grovier suggests: “Given Munch’s anxieties about modern culture, it is easy to see how the newly patented symbol of science, the light bulb, may have merged in the artist’s mind with the mien of the evocative mummy, an unsettling relic of a civilization long since extinguished.”
But it is the ambiguous, unknowable nature of this strange figure which is the key to The Scream’s universal appeal, argues art critic Jonathan Jones. He writes in The Guardian: “By removing all individuality from this being, Munch allows anyone to inhabit it. He draws a glove puppet for the soul.”
艺术评论家琼斯（Jonathan Jones）则认为，《呐喊》的吸引力来自这个奇怪人形模糊不定、不得而知的特点。他在《卫报》（The Guaidian）上写道：“蒙克抹去了其所有个性，任何人都可以自我代入，他为灵魂画了一个布偶。”
And if Munch’s work is indeed an expression of his anxiety at a turning point in history, in a world increasingly cut loose from old traditions, there are clear parallels in the world of today. This is surely why The Scream retains its power despite its ubiquity: it’s a mirror of our own contemporary fears. Inside, aren’t we all screaming too?